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Supply chains, medical equipment and more: Murray hopes bill will better prepare us for next public health emergency

Shoppers line up to buy supplies at Costco Wholesale in New Jersey in 2020 as fears over COVID-19 grew around the world. Sen. Patty Murray hopes a bill she's working on will help the country be better prepared for future public health emergencies.
Tayfun Coskun
/
AP File
Shoppers line up to buy supplies at Costco Wholesale in New Jersey in 2020 as fears over COVID-19 grew around the world. Sen. Patty Murray hopes a bill she's working on will help the country be better prepared for future public health emergencies.

The pandemic is, of course, not over.

But as the response continues, discussion has begun in Congress over the next threat to public health, whatever that may be.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, is chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. She and ranking member Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, have released a draft of what they call the PREVENT Pandemics Act.

The measure looks at ways to strengthen medical supply chains, bolster the public health workforce and fight misinformation. It would also require the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be confirmed by the Senate.

The goal, Murray says, is to apply the lessons from this pandemic to future threats to public health.

Right now, the legislation is in draft form — it hasn't been filed yet. Murray spoke about the proposal with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. Listen to their conversation above.

Ed Ronco came to KNKX in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KNKX’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.
Posey produces, reports, and edits stories for Sound Effect. Before joining the Sound Effect team, Posey worked as a producer at KUOW and WNYC. She has also worked for The Moth and StoryCorps. She holds a certificate in documentary audio production from Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She lives in Seattle with her wife, her daughter, and a fluffy dog.